Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Good Christians, Cease your whining and rejoice: Readings for May 7th

Another day, another Bishop...this time, a Saint -yesterday's Canadian holy man was a blessed!-
 Fair warning, my entry for  April 8th -today..I'm kinda late for my April 7th Blog!-  is also a 'homily.'( I'm not a priest, so it's not a homily, but you get my drift!)  This means that  my reflections, and therefore, the blog will be a bit longer! Thanks for your patience, and thanks Melanie Jean for your regular words of encouragement. It's silly, but they give me fuel!  But we have a Bishop to deal with don't we!!?

Saint. John of Beverley
Feast: May 7

Feast Day:May 7
Died:7 May 721, Beverley

This illustrious saint was born at Harpham, a village in the province of the Deiri, which comprised Yorkshire, Lancashire, and the rest of the kingdom of the Northumbers, on the south side of the Tyne;
 He was drawn to a life of service to God, and under the direction of the holy abbot Adrian, he flourished  and grew in his faith.
He continued to develop in piety, and , he was made bishop of Hagulstad, or Hexam. (no years mentioned unfortunately) What time he had to spare from his functions he consecrated to heavenly contemplation; retiring for that purpose into the churchyard of St. Michael's, beyond the river Tyne, about a mile and a half from Hagulstad, especially during the forty days of Lent. He was accustomed to take with him some poor person, whom he served during that time.
As the venerable Bede would testify, he was indeed a man of great sanctity and humility. Bede relates the instantaneous cure of the sick wife of a neighboring thane or lord, by holy water, and several other miracles performed by St John. Eventually, by 721, he would retire to Beverley, where he spent the remaining four years of his life in the punctual performance of all monastic duties. He died on the 7th of May, 721. 

Read more: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/J/stjohnofbeverley.asp#ixzz2SZgFcO1d


 Today's saint was not an extraordinary mover and shaker that people in our world would admire . This is probably why he and many like him are largely forgotten today: They were too simple: I can imagine someone from our time asking our saint : " So what did you accomplish. What did you contribute to the world". Something tells me they wouldn't understand the answer very much.  They wouldn't get why he desired one thing only...to Serve God with all his heart. They wouldn't understand his desire to remain close to those who suffer and are marginalized.
 The bottom line is, what made him a Saint,what invites us  to walk in God's light more closely every day, is the unconditional love that came out of his spiritual life. Because of it,  He wouldn't be afraid to go deep into his piety, and he wouldn't hesitate to give to those who needed. So no big fireworks or celebration, but the quiet, yet constant movement of the spirit at work!

Oddly enough, the work of the Spirit is anything but quiet in today's first reading! First, and most obvious of all, there's the earthquake. Secondly, there's the constant singing of the imprisoned. Almost as if, they were happy to be suffering. What a humbling reminder for us. These days, whenever we read about the secular, and sometimes anti Catholic culture that surrounds us, we get angry. Everything that goes against our beliefs, we speak out angrily against. Everytime a Catholic Doctor is told he/she will have to perform abortions or lose their job...we speak of persecution. But we don't just speak about it...we whine.

 That's not what our forefather are doing in this reading today. As Pope Francis mentioned in his morning homily "Even in troubling times, Christians are full of joy and never sad, like Paul and Silas who were persecuted and imprisoned for witnessing to the Gospel. They were joyful ...because they followed Jesus in the path of his passion. A path the Lord travelled with patience, and love". (to read more of Pope Francis' homily for May 7th: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-christian-endurance-and-christs-peace)
 How did  Peter and Silas greet their persecution?  With whining? I don't think so!! With songs of prayer. With joy. The Christian can not be silent about the culture of death that exists in many forms  in our world. We must Speak out, and speak often.  But we can't do so angrily or impatiently .That's how the world speaks when it doesn't get its way. .That's not the way of the Cross. A very humbling reminder to all of us!  but look of the fruits of that behavior from today's readings....the jailor is not just converted...his heart is completely opened. His life changed.  )
 We get our cue from today's Psalm as well -I know I don't always reference it directly! I try to include it in my reflections subtly!-. While we do face trouble, God always preserves us, and makes our soul stronger. It's not for nothing that the most faithful people in our world are often the poorest. They understand 'Our' vulnerability more than the rest of the world does, and once you understand fully, how can you turn away from God?  The Lord is all you have, and all you need. (to Paraphrase Porgy and Bess!)

 But our work, contrary to what some Christians will tell us, is not to sit and wait for God to judge the world.  No. When Jesus sends us the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit...a new understanding should settle in our minds, and in our hearts. As Jesus tells his disciples, he must Depart from their sight, so that the Spirit can enter their lives, and continue the work that's been begun...that oh so important work that continues to this day when we receive our Baptism, and with time, learn to say 'Yes Lord, I am ready to go with you to the ends of the earth, come what may'. Judgement will still come, but our lives are not designed to sit and wait for it. They're designed to receive the full power of the Spirit, and to walk with Jesus, not just the Risen Jesus who gives hope to the world, but the suffering Jesus on the way of the Cross. being close to him, we can be, like our Saint John of Beverly, close to others who suffer. (in imitation of my old Testament Professor, I say one last thing) Notice: Although St John did miracles as well, healing is not the biggest part of his mission. Presence is. Being there for those who most need it, to be in communion with them, as we are with Jesus.

Acts 16: 22 - 34

22The crowd joined in attacking them; and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods.23And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely.24Having received this charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.25But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,26and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and every one's fetters were unfastened.27When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.28But Paul cried with a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here."29And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas,30and brought them out and said, "Men, what must I do to be saved?"31And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."32And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all that were in his house.33And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their wounds, and he was baptized at once, with all his family.34Then he brought them up into his house, and set food before them; and he rejoiced with all his household that he had believed in God.

Psalms 138: 1 - 3, 7 - 8

1I give thee thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing thy praise;
2I bow down toward thy holy temple and give thanks to thy name for thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness; for thou hast exalted above everything thy name and thy word.
3On the day I called, thou didst answer me, my strength of soul thou didst increase.
7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou dost preserve my life; thou dost stretch out thy hand against the wrath of my enemies, and thy right hand delivers me.
8The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me; thy steadfast love, O LORD, endures for ever. Do not forsake the work of thy hands. ------------------------------------------------------------------------

John 16: 5 - 11

5But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, `Where are you going?'
6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts.
7Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
8And when he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
9concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
10concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more;
11concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

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